Feelings Take Shape: Fauvism and Color, 3rd – 5th grade


Probable Duration: three 45-minute class periods

Lesson Title: Feelings Take Shape: Fauvism and Color

Aesthetic Issue:  Color, Shape, Mood, Unity, Emphasis

Art History Reinforcement: Fauvism

Subject Correlation: Language Arts


The learner will:

  • list words that describe different emotional states,
  • analyze Franz Marc’s paintings for emotional content conveyed through color and through the body language of the animals,
  • demonstrate understanding of body language by acting out certain moods,
  • choose an animal that they feel is representative of a specific mood,
  • use good craftsmanship to create an original painting using color and the body language of their chosen animal to represent a mood,
  • repeat the shape of the animal in the background of the painting in order to create a sense of unity.
  • emphasize the animal in the foreground through color and outlining.


Fauvism: one of the first Modernist movements in painting in which artists used arbitrary colors to

express emotions

Realism: a style of artmaking in which the artist tries to make his or her work look like nature or a photograph

Mood: a feeling expressed through a work of art or literature

Emotions (Sentimientos): a feeling, such as anger, anxiety, or joy


Teacher Prep:

  • Use this Slide Show.
  • Collect various realistic photos of animals.



  • Painting paper
  • Liquid tempera
  • Paintbrushes
  • Pencils
  • Images of Franz Marc’s paintings
  • Photographs of various animals



  • Begin the lesson by having students brainstorm for words that express emotions they have personally experienced.  Write each word on the board.
  • Explain that artists like Henri Matisse (whose work they’ve seen recently) and Franz Marc, both of whom were working after the Impressionists in Europe (point to the spot on the timeline) wanted to make art that did something new and different.
  • They wanted to use painting to ‘express’ their feelings, to help people become aware that looking at different colors could affect mood.  Many of the people in France at this time thought artists like Matisse and Marc were crazy—they called them wild beasts or Fauves.



First Period: Show the students the images, one at a time, and discuss each one.  Ask the students to focus on the shapes they see, how to describe them and the colors.  What feelings do the students get from each of the paintings?  Are they all the same, or are they different?

Demonstrate to students how to collect the tools they will need for their paintings.  For the first period, that may only be a pencil and paper.  Have the students come over to the demo table and explain that everyone is going to choose an animal whose shape makes them think of a certain mood orSlide3 feeling.  Eventually, they will get to paint their animals whatever color they choose.  Today, however, the students will choose an animal and take their time drawing it.  Each table will get a variety of animal photographs to look at if needed.

Students will work on their drawings independently.

Second Period:  Introduce liquid tempera paint.  Demonstrate how the paint can be mixed in the trays but emphasize that the students need to use colors that are bright, vibrant, and not realistic (or naturalistic).

Students will work on their paintings independently.

Third Period: Review over the use of color and shape to create mood.  Have   students work independently until their paintings are completed.



Did the learner:

  • contribute to the discussion?
  • choose an animal that represented a certain mood?
  • use color appropriate to the mood chosen?
  • repeat the shape of the animal in the background to create unity?
  • use color and/or outlining to emphasize the animal in the foreground?
  • use good craftsmanship in their painting?

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